Live Review: Art School Girlfriend// Electrowerkz, London

It would be too easy to describe the nights presented by Promotors Switch as a celebration of queer Alt-Pop. Sure, each acts does represent elements of this umbrella term, but the post-gig buzz generated from the night as a whole stems from the rawness and originality of the three acts rather than their sexuality.

The first support comes from Lynks Afrikka (Elliot Brent), whose flamboyant stage presence does admittedly lie at the novelty end of the alt-pop spectrum. Lynks Afrikka stands to reimagine contemporary dance music by combining elements of drag and stand-up with humorous, yet insightful lyrics in a chaotic, captivating way. Brent and the ‘Lynks Shower Gels’ (his back up dancers) introduce the witty proceedings by rising from a dramatic slumber and ‘How to be Successful’ blasts the room.

“Can you tell I did drama GCSE?” interjects Brent as the next beat begins to play. Any uniformed Art School Girlfriend (ASG) fan arriving mid way through Lynks Afrikka’s support set may have had quite the shock; his fun and vibrant performance could be described as the opposite of ASG’s vibe. The tassels on Brent’s denim crop top and modified riding helmet swirl round for the entirety as he moves through ‘I Don’t Know What I Want’ and ‘Desperate and Lonely’. There many artists today that are using the anxieties of being a 20 something to drive their songwriting – Brent’s satirical and subversive style seems to be one of the most avant and abstract approaches.

Polly Money’s support set takes a more paired back approach, standing unaccompanied on stage with pink spotlights illuminating her silhouette throughout the performance. The London artist soundtracks stories of youth and romance over her electric guitar, which accentuate Polly’s anecdotal songwriting with reverb, giving the solo act a genuine sense of fullness.

The joviality generated by Lynks’ set has now dissipated and the audience seem ready for Art School Girlfriend’s (Polly Mackey) beat-driven ethereal and atmospheric pop. Lust and longing are common themes within ASG’s music, and this is exemplified in the broody opening track ‘Distance (Blank)’. During ‘Bending back’ it’s hard to make out Mackey’s presence on the smoke-filled stage, contributing to the entrancing element of her music. Mackey’s attributes the perfection of her sound with her move to Margate following the split of Deaf Club, in which Mackey had a founding role. The cornerstone of the set comes from ‘Come Back To Me’, ASG’s latest release. The punchier drums and energetic instrumental sections create more depth and hint at the direction of the still unreleased album. The audience are fully spellbound for the closing track, ‘Moon’, the most synth heavy of ASG’s singles.

Author avatar
Daisy Woodley

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